Doug Mastriano Cannot Ever Be Pennsylvania Governor. We Mean It.

Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. and Democratic Senate nominee John Fetterman is pantsing TV’s Dr. Oz, from his sick bed. This is great news! I just wish Attorney General Josh Shapiro were doing a little better against MAGA fascist Doug Mastriano. Although polls show Fetterman with a healthy lead over Dr. Diet Pill, Shapiro is just a few points ahead of Mastriano — well within the margin of error and far too close for comfort.

From Politico:

“I have the feeling that the race is too close, and that there is this very vocal group that Mastriano has behind him, and that Shapiro has got a lot of work to do,” said Pat Moulton, a retired nurse who attended a meet-and-greet with Shapiro in northeastern Pennsylvania last week. “As a Democrat, it’s frighteningly close.”

The pattern with Mastriano is eerily similar to Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign. The Republican establishment initially considered him radioactive and kept their distance, perhaps even quietly conceding the election to the normal Democratic candidate. However, tightening polls might convince the Republican Governors Association to abandon its current hands-off approach and give Mastriano much-needed financial assistance.

PREVIOUSLY: Doug Mastriano Knows What's Just Like The Holocaust, And It Is Whatever Makes Him Mad

Shapiro is a solid fundraiser with $13.4 million in the bank. Mastriano has $400,000, which is almost enough for a down payment on a San Francisco studio but barely keeps the lights on at a major statewide campaign. Shapiro has run countless ads rightly calling out Mastriano as a forced-birth, Big Lie-promoting extremist, while so far Mastriano hasn’t dropped a single TV ad in the general election. Before you laugh, consider that despite the lopsided campaigning, Mastriano is only down three to four points.

A major cash infusion from the RGA could shake up the race. Shapiro acknowledges what’s at stake if election denier Mastriano pulls out an upset. Shapiro told a crowd at a recent meet-and-greet that “my wife said to me earlier, with a finger poked in my chest, ‘You better win.’ … I feel that, I do. I feel that it’s more than just, ‘Hey, good luck out there.’ There’s an urgency when y’all stick your fingers in my chest.”

“Don’t fuck this up!” isn’t a ringing endorsement, but we can all appreciate Mrs. Shapiro’s concerns. Mastriano didn’t just attend the January 6 coup rally. He chartered buses and apparently joined the crowd that crossed the barricades (i.e. “broke the law”). He supports a total abortion ban with no exceptions for basic humanity. He takes a “voter schmoeter” approach to presidential elections and believes that the GOP-controlled state legislature can pick their preferred winner. He also thinks that as governor he has the power to “decertify” election machines. He’s an absolute horror show, and he wouldn’t simply impose his brand of white Christian nationalism on the state. He could, regardless of actual outcome, deliver Pennsylvania’s electoral votes to Trump or Ron DeSantis.

Unfortunately, sounding the extremist alarm bells might prove insufficient. Fetterman has had success defining Dr. Oz as a Hollywood phony who’s not a “true” Pennsylvanian. That’s more than a quibble over his residency. Fetterman is marginalizing Dr. Oz as “not one of us.” It’s a tactic that worked with Barack Obama against Mitt Romney.

Shapiro should target Mastriano’s “regular guy” appeal, highlight the ways that he’s fucking bizarre. It doesn’t matter if he’s too extreme for the well-heeled MSNBC "Morning Joe" panel. We need to prove that he’s too extreme for working-class Pennsylvania.

Larry Ceisler, a consultant who’s backing Shapiro, thinks these early polls are a necessary kick in Democratic complacency.

“Most people are in a little bubble, where they talk to one other and say, ‘Boy, there’s no way Doug Mastriano can beat Josh Shapiro.’ Well, you know what? Those people don’t get off the turnpike,” he said, referring to the interstate highway that crosses Pennsylvania. “It wakes some people as to: It’s a real campaign, and yes, there really are people who are for Doug Mastriano, and this is not going to be a walk in the park.”

We are all Mrs. Shapiro with our finger poked in her husband’s chest. Leave little to chance and take nothing for granted. Democracy might very well depend on Josh Shapiro beating Doug Mastriano.

[Politico]

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Stephen Robinson

Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. Once, he wrote a novel called “Mahogany Slade,” which you should read or at least buy. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."

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